Proposition 9: Unity of the Believers

November 28, 2005

In Proposition 9, Thomas Campbell states:

That all that are enabled, thro’ grace, to make such a profession, and to manifest the reality of it in their tempers and conduct, should consider each other as the precious saints of God, should love each other as brethren, children of the same family and father, temples of the same spirit, members of the same body, subjects of the same grace, objects of the same divine love, bought with the same price, and joint heirs of the same inheritance. Whom God hath thus joined together no man should dare to put asunder.

He states two prerequisites to unity, followed by eight aspects of our position which demand our mutual acceptance:

Prerequisites (discussed in comments on Proposition 8):
1) Make a confession of belief in Jesus and submission to him as Lord
2) Demonstrate a life that is consistent with that confession

Our resulting mutual position in Christ:
1) Precious saints of God
2) Brothers and sisters, children of the same family and father
3) Temples of the same Spirit
4) Members of the same Body
5) Subjects of the same grace
6) Objects of the same divine love
7) Bought with the same price
8) Joint heirs of the same inheritance

These eight aspects of our position in Christ are fully supported in the scriptures.

Clearly God wants his children to be united in love. How foolish, how arrogant, how reckless it would be to reject someone for whom Christ died, whom God has adopted as his son, and granted the same position that he gave to us! If God placed a person into his body, what right has any other child of God to withhold the full warm embrace of Christian love? How distressing it must be to God to see his children bicker and fight! With the judgment we use, we will be judged. Let us judge with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving whatever grievances we may have toward one another…that is, unless someone thinks he does not need mercy himself!

One obstacle to this mutual acceptance is the exclusive retoric that is often heard from pulpits. Sometimes a leader seems to think he need to paint a picture showing that nobody else is saved, or at least that nobody else is as saved, as those in his flock. Superficially, that message does have the appearance of strengthening the position of his particular congregation, as a deterrent to members leaving as well as an incentive for outsiders to join. But that mindset is dangerously arrogant, creating a barrier to learning from other congregations. And it prevents the kind of mutual acceptance among believers that God commands and desires.

I believe the solution starts with dialog between individuals from groups that are currently not united.
I want to be part of the solution to this problem. Let the dialog proceed!

The entire series: Comments on the Thirteen Propositions of Thomas Campbell


  1. Alan:Move out to Portland and we can start the process now. ;)Seriously, though, I am exited about all the unity conversations going on right now. I read on one site that there will be at least eight events over the next year that focus on unity between churches of Christ and the Independent Christian Churches. Most of those are out of my reach, but I hope to maybe make it to the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, Lord willing.I would like to see more conversation between ICOC and COC, besides just a couple of us here in the blogging universe… however, maybe this is where the dialogue must begin.Also, I’d like to invite you and Doug to be participants in restorationmovement.org once the new template is in place and everyone can actually view it. The template has been picked out and we will begin transfering the content soon. The theme of the site is going to be “Bringing Christians Together.” I would love to have boht of you involved.-Clarke

  2. Hey Clarke,I agree that there are some promising efforts under way and I want to participate in any way I can.> Also, I’d like to invite you and Doug to> be participants in restorationmovement.orgI’d be delighted.-Alan

  3. Clarke,Count me in too.I know that there are other ICOC and COC conversations going on out there in individual cities, but I too wish there were more. For example, I understand through a member here who’s an OTR trucker that the Little Rock WR ICOC church and a local COC church have actually been having services together. He indicated that there is some talk of them actually merging.Of course this is word of mouth news, take that into acount.

  4. I would be satisfied just to find Christians with real love in their hearts toward each other. Many coming saying Christ, Christ and know Him not these days and I don’t think I have ever been hurt more than by a Christian!!!!!

  5. Hey anonymous,I can relate to how you feel. I’m sorry you’ve had such experiences. Don’t lose hope! Though there are weeds among the wheat, there is still a lot of good wheat!Alan

  6. […] his ninth proposition, Thomas Campbell called on all Christians to accept one another “as brethren, children of the […]

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